More than 130 riders from all over NSW and the ACT raced at Greenvalleys MTB Park near Shellharbour on the weekend. They competed for the RedAss Downhill Enduro Championship titles and experienced elite racer Joel Willis from Lithgow won with the fastest time of the day on the challenging track. With a premiere in the elite category, Ellie Smith from Wyong is the 2016 women’s Champion at only 16 years of age.
The challenging course at Greenvalleys MTB Park demanded everything of the racers summoned by events promoter Rocky Trail Entertainment. Newly groomed and in great condition on race day after a wet practice on Saturday, it offered the crowds spectacular action. The participants had two runs of the track each and the faster time clocked in counted towards the final result.
Ellie Smith from Wyong raced her first elite category event and in 2:20.343 min her first race run was the fastest female time of the day. After two runs, the only 16-year old won ahead of seasoned riders Kellie Weinert (+0.067) from Kearns and Joanne Fox (+9.062) from Emu Heights. “I decided in the last minute to race in elite”, the up and coming downhiller form the Central Coast admitted. “I’ve been training really hard the last few months and I want to race at World Cup level one day – these are the types of events that will get me ready for it”, she added.
One who has overseas experience and a notable number of state titles under his belt, even though he’s only 19 years old, is Joel Willis from Lithgow, who claimed the elite men’s title in 1:58.048, the fastest of the day. “It was fun to race at Greenvalleys and I’m looking forward to the RedAss series finale on my home track in October”, he said. Second was Brent Smith (+0.545) from Woronora Heights ahead of Patrick Butler (+2.67) from Brunkerville who also raced his first elite event in the RedAss Downhill series. Fourth and fifth were Josh Lea from Helensburgh (+3.822) and Keiran Volk (+4.49), both local club members and builders of the track.
“Downhill racing is a niche sport and a very tough one to get into, because the skills required are so specific and hard to acquire”, said Race Director Martin Wisata from Rocky Trail Entertainment. “This weekend we had record fields in the Junior U15 and Junior U17 categories – over 50 young athletes competed with us at Greenvalleys, which is a promising sign for the sport”, Wisata concluded.
The RedAss Downhill Enduro Series will have its annual final event in Lithgow on 15+16 October. For more information and detailed results, visit www.rockytrailentertainment.com